Friday, 25 March 2016

The Lent Project #9 How to Spend Your Good Friday

There is a part of me that for many years shrank from Good Friday. It just seemed like an unnecessarily mournful day, where we'd feel guilty if we laughed or were lighthearted, kind of like when you're at the funeral of someone you're not close to, and feel the need for somber faces without any inner disposition toward somberness.

Then some years ago as I began to go deeper into my faith, my heart came to know that

It was MY infirmities that he bore, MY sufferings that he endured, he was pierced for MY offenses, crushed for MY sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes ME whole, by his stripes *I* am being healed. 

It was not the suffering of a stranger, but One whom I know and love, One who looks at me with a gaze of such tender love, even as He is bruised and bloody, and the suffering still isn't over. One who knows my ugliest sin, and has not only loved me and forgiven me for it, but has made a way for me to be holy, to be different, by taking on the sin that I hate, and fighting it for me.

But what could I do with that knowledge? What does He want from me?

In the Passion of the Christ, I saw Mama Mary living it with Him. She didn't look away. How comforting, how consoling it must have been to be accompanied by the ones you love into the darkest valley you have tread. I've felt it, when I have struggled the most, no one could take my suffering away from me, but their presence, their silent entering into my suffering, their sympathetic gaze took some of the sting away.

C.S Lewis depicts it so beautifully in 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe', as Lucy and Susan walk with Aslan on the night before he is taken captive by the Witch, and then watch with deep grief as He is mocked and killed in the hour when evil seemed to triumph.

Fr. Raneiro Cantalamessa talks about his indignation when he hears some people say that the joy of the Resurrection should be proclaimed, but we should avoid returning to a certain kind of spirituality that is too oriented towards suffering.
'It is true we should emphasize faith and the joy of the Resurrection to the extreme, but the balance does not lie in scaling back to moderate doses of self-denial and of the cross. That is an entirely a human way of thinking. The balance comes only in carrying both to extremes: fully accepting the cross in the depths of our souls so that we can fully experience the Resurrection in the depths of our souls.' Sober Intoxication of the Spirit
So on this Good Friday, let us walk with the Lord. Let us fast, and embrace the hunger, offering it to Him as a sacrifice to console Him. Let us bear patiently the heat and the long Good Friday service. Let us be extra gentle with the people around us. Let us take on the little extras to be with Him- the parish Way of the Cross, spending an hour in prayer, reading Good Friday reflections, praying the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3- the hour of mercy on Good Friday! What a powerful hour to pray for the conversion of souls.

Just be close to Him, tenderly speaking with Him through this day, keeping a place of silence within you, where He can rest.

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